MANAMA: Standard Chartered Bank's global Islamic banking business brand Saadiq was launched in Bahrain yesterday. "Standard Chartered has a reputation for innovation in Islamic banking," said Standard Chartered Middle East and North Africa regional chief executive officer and Islamic Banking Board chairman Shayne Nelson.
"With more than 150 years of international financial expertise and a true global network, we are able to scale our product capabilities across geographies and comply with worldwide Sharia principles."
"We are optimistic that Standard Chartered Saadiq will have a positive impact on Bahrain's Islamic banking sector.
"And we will remain firm on our commitment - to be the right partner to our customers in fulfilling their evolving demands and to the government's agenda in the development of the Islamic banking industry."
As an international bank Standard Chartered has an established presence in almost 50 per cent of the Muslim world.
This provides the bank with the opportunity to understand, structure and deliver Islamic solutions for it customers, without compromising their beliefs.
"Islamic banking is of strategic importance to Standard Chartered Group as the industry grows from strength-to-strength," said Standard Chartered Saadiq chief executive officer Afaq Khan.
"It furthers our strategic intent to be the best international bank in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
"Standard Chartered Islamic Banking has grown significantly in the last two years following the introduction of our Saadiq brand with a presence in Malaysia, Indonesia, UAE, Pakistan, Bangladesh and now, Bahrain.
"The launch of Saadiq in Bahrain gives us the opportunity to increase our presence in Islamic financial services," he said.
Islamic financial services are one of the fastest growing fields in the banking and finance industry.
In its report, McKinsey & Company said that Islamic banking assets and assets under management reached $750 billion in 2006, and the Islamic finance sector is expected to reach $1 trillion by next year.
The entry of Standard Chartered Saadiq is expected to boost the competitiveness of banking and raise the level of product innovation and delivery to customers.
"Our decision to launch Saadiq in Bahrain is a direct response to feedback from our customers that they want their banking needs met within Sharia principles," said Standard Chartered Bank Bahrain chief executive officer Jonathan Morris.
"We have a long heritage in Bahrain, which coupled with our international expertise and deep roots in Muslim countries, gives us a unique opportunity to play an active role in the growth of Bahrain's Islamic financial services sector."
Standard Chartered is amongst the leading banks offering a full suite of Sharia-compliant products and services ranging from personal, property to corporate financing.
In the Middle East and South Asia, Standard Chartered has been strengthening Islamic banking since 2003 and has built extensive experience with sovereign issuers and cross-border bond offerings for large corporate in Islamic financing.
Since Saadiq's global launch in 2007, the bank has won 28 awards in total for Islamic banking.
These include the prestigious Islamic bank of the year 2008 (Euromoney) award as well as numerous wins from Islamic Financial News.